Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade King Cake

First of all, let me introduce you to my new baby!

I got her for Christmas and this was my first time getting to use her.  
Can you say LUV!!!

It made the dough so easy to make.

Especially this kneading tool!

Before I get too far along, let me give you a little background on a King Cake.  King Cakes are typically enjoyed during the Mardi Gras season.  From what I understand, this tradition was originally brought over from France as a part of celebrating Epiphany.

Each king cake is decorated with colored icing and traditionally baked with a plastic baby inside.  The three colors (yellow, green, and purple) represent the three Kings and the baby is said to represent the Christ child.

While we have not been ones to really celebrate "Mardi Gras", we have adopted the king cake as our own family tradition. I began making my own homemade ones since 2002 when we were living 800 miles from home and couldn't afford to have one shipped to us.

I am setting a record this year, though!  I have already made two batches and I have committed to making one more.  Since each batch makes 2 cakes, that's a total of 6!!!  Good gravy!!

So here is a little bit of how you make a king cake...

First you will mix together a warm sour cream mixture, yeast, eggs, and flour to make the dough.  

After kneading, the dough will rise for an hour and then you get to roll it out to add the filling.

I just use cinnamon and sugar for my filling, but some king cakes have cream cheese or strawberry fillings.

After the filling is spread, you roll it up into a log and then form it into an oval.  You have to let it rise again for a little while and then it is time for baking!

While it is baking, you can make the icing.  The icing is made with powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla.  After dividing up the icing into three bowls, you add the food coloring to make the different colors.

Alternating the different colored icing and sprinkling on the colored sugars puts the final touches that really makes it a King Cake.

It like a great big delicious cinnamon roll!

For Sarah's last day, I made her class King Cake Cupcakes (I got the idea from Pinterest!).  I figured it would be easier for the kids and the teacher.  It was the first time I tried it this way and it actually turned out pretty good!

So, here is the recipe.  Enjoy!

1/4 c. butter or margarine
1 (16oz) carton sour cream
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 eggs
6 -6 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided

1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened (I usually end up using more)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan; heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally.  Let mixture cool to 105 or 115 degrees.
Dissolve yeast and 1 tbs. sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.  Add butter mixture, eggs, and 2 cups of flour; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or by hand until smooth.  Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).  Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.

Combine 1/2 c. sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

Pinch dough down and divide it in half.  Turn one protion of dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll to a 28"x10" rectangle.  Spread half of the butter and half of the cinnamon mixture on the rolled out dough.  Roll dough, jelly roll fashion, starting at the long side.  Gently place dough roll, seam side down, on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bring ends of dough together and form an oval ring.  If you have access to a tiny plastic baby, tuck it into the seam before you seal it.  Moisten and pinch the edges together to seal.

Repeat this procedure with the second half of the dough.

Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 10 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.  Decorate each cake with bands of colored frostings and sprinkle with colored sugars.
Colored Frosting:
3 c. sifted powdered sugar
3 tbs. butter or margarine, melted
3-5 tbs. milk, room temperature
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 drops each of green, yellow, red, and blue food coloring

Combine powdered sugar and melted butter.  Add milk to reach desired consistency for drizzling; stir in vanilla.  Divide frosting into 3 batches, tinting one with green, one with yellow, and combining blue and red for purple frosting.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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